Allen James Walker was born a slave near Germantown in 1845. During the Civil War, Walker was one of the thousands of local slaves who escaped from their bondage. Walker joined the Union Army, which raised 51 black companies from Shelby and Fayette County alone.
As a soldier in the 7th US Colored Heavy Artillery, Walker was stationed at Corinth, Mississippi and Ft. Pickering, here in Memphis, but was ultimately sent to Ft. Pillow, overlooking the Mississippi and Hatchie Rivers.
Frank and Jesse James hold a prominent place in the history of outlaws. One member of the James gang has a Memphis connection. Captain Kit Dalton, born in Logan County, Kentucky in 1848, ran away from home during the Civil War and joined Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry.
In March of 1934, Dr. R.Q. Venson, a Beale Street dentist, took his nephew to a Cotton Carnival parade. While at the parade, his nephew pointed-out that, “the negroes were horses,” meaning that black men were pulling the floats.
In reaction to this, Dr. Venson requested that blacks be allowed to fully participate in future Cotton Carnivals.
His request was denied, so, Dr. Venson created the Cotton Makers Jubilee as an alternative to the racially-segregated Cotton Carnival. Black Memphians would have their own festival.
From Richardson’s Landing, TN, to Greenville, MS, the sand and gravel bars of the Mississippi River cut through old sediments in the riverbed and along its banks, exposing fossil remains of ancient bison that roamed the Mid-South at least 10,000 years ago. These ancestors of modern bison stood almost seven feet tall at the shoulder, and weighed around 2,000 pounds.